By Miles Baxter
The thing to remember about horror/suspense films is that they have quite a few bills to pay in the mere hour and half they have to pay them. Films like this have only a short time to make us care about the characters before they start getting picked off one-by-one by monsters, ghosts, murderers, or in this case, alien balls of radio energy.
The Darkest Hour fails horrendously at this task, filling a moderately interesting plot line with characters that hold as much interest as a bag of potatoes.
I like watching balls of radio energy disintegrate unsuspecting civilians as much as the next guy, but the problem is that what started as an interesting concept gradually lets the interest fade. It’s easy to think “Wow, radio wave creatures with no actual faces. What a great, creative idea that gives the audience the credit of open-mindedness to not just assume that aliens are going to look like us.”
Then you find out they do have faces.
At this point in the review, I would usually feel the need to give some degree of a spoiler-free plot summary, but chances are you already know what happens.
Well, here goes.
After an alien invasion, a group of young individuals trek across the city in order to reach… you know what? It doesn’t matter. No matter where the characters go, there’s a problem that requires them to go somewhere else and so on and so forth. The actual goal of the group is nothing more than a reason for them to walk around the city and, not surprisingly, die one at a time.
Sometime later, the group encounters a doomsday scientist who has invented a microwave gun (how perfect!) The concept of an eccentric old coot that was completely prepared for the impending apocalypse was cliché as it is. This film seemed to do even less with the idea, giving the man few to no lines at all. The majority of his part consisted of ramblings at his cat.
One more example of The Darkest Hour coming up short.
The group eventually meets with a rag-tag band of soldiers forming the resistance, giving the movie some small redemption. Seeing the soldiers in armor made of glass (glass blinding the aliens) was a pretty creative concept, but didn’t quite save the movie as a whole.
A couple deaths later and the remainder of the group makes it to a nuclear submarine and hints at the human resistance that will be formed against our new alien enemies.
The attempt at a dramatic end was nothing short of hysterical.
The Darkest Hour is anything but a pioneer in the horror/ suspense genre. While not as horrible as the majority of its genre, this movie’s positives hardly outweigh the number of mistakes. You can see that the film’s director, Chris Gorak, had his heart in the right place. In the end, it just didn’t quite work.